Blog Better (Boston) or not ever again?

Hmmmmm…Sometimes I think not ever again.

I’ve been so uncommitted to my blog for a while. There are days that I think I should just stop promoting it, take down the 4HB posts (my biggest source of traffic, sadly. I know, I can’t believe it’s not The not so crafty Mama gets her (Father’s Day) tie on either!) and just let it be my family blog.

Blog Better Boston

Yesterday was one of those days, and ironically I was at a blogging conference, Blog Better Boston. You’d think I’d be all gung ho afterwards and come here and post away like I did last year. I sat there, my knock off spanx all pinching my thighs, looking at all these pretty young things thinking “Am I kidding” myself here?

The conference was organized by two very young hip gals. They did a great job, truly. Most of the attendees appeared to be fashion bloggers. I say appeared to be becasue some of the fashion was questionable to my very old tired eyes, but maybe that’s what’s fashionable now. I DON”T KNOW. This is my point.

It seemed like all these PYTs were very focused and jazzed up, and the panelists at least – very accomplished. I know, I know “Comparison is the thief of joy”. I know! But I couldn’t help it. I accomplished getting out of the house without any kid mess on me that morning. That my friends, is an accomplishment in my book.

My reason for this blog is manyfold (is that a word because I like it). In the beginning it was my business blog, then I extracted the personal posts and it became a personal blog. It’s a documentation of my life, a form of self expression through writing, photography, and video. Then it became a small (very small) business writing reviews and doing giveaways. It’s has always been a way for me to keep my skillset sharp and network for the day that will eventually come when my kids are in school and I want a J O B.

My determination to be really good at something that I do, combined with the mental injuries of Cool Dog not doing as well as I hoped, added with my utter exhaustion at the end of the day has left me defeated. I can’t put my all into something again because it isn’t really my all. My all goes to my kids. My blog, and before that my business got my what’s left over. A coming down from latte overload, tired, unshowered version of myself.

Back to the conference.

Monetize your Blog – For me, this was by far the best panel. Lots of good stuff here. The most interesting bit that was revealed (to me) is that I could have another revenue stream by helping others with videos for their blogs. Also creating motion graphics for their vids. Good stuff right? But do I dive back into another business venture? Ugh.

Working with Brands – Mommy Niri. Oh, our good friend Niri. So smart. Know you’re worth something. Don’t pimp yourself out. Figure out what you’re getting from the relationship. Sounds like life, no?

Traffic & Community – I didn’t understand that this panel would be discussing offline community. I wouldn’t have gone. I don’t have time to keep up with my actual community – my friends.  I am not building an offline community, I’m just not. However, I loved these ladies. Smart, funny and yes fashionable. Takeaway – Be authentic. Always. Find what you’re good at and go deep.

It was a good conference in its inaugural year, and next year, I think it will be even better. I wished the panels were a bit longer and breaks a bit shorter. Maybe two food stations to help with the lines. Oh, and bigger cupcakes :-)

life of reilly latte

This post is fragmented and a little bit swirly, but that’s kind of the way I feel right now.

So to recap I like to blog, I’m not very good at it, I like to go to conferences, I’m tired, and my spanx are hurty.

See, now this is the part in the post where I am supposed to ask a question like Why do you blog? or What keeps you blogging? or Do you wear Spanx too? Meh. Also, you’re welcome for the PYT earworm.

Time for more caffeine I think.


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5 things I loved about Bloggy Boot Camp

© Lindsey Garrett

1. Wine at lunch

2. Pink nametag thingys

3. Dessert

4. Coffee on tap

5. A day without my kids


© Lindsey Garrett

Oh come on, you know I’m just kidding. (kind of)

I’m just practicing making lists and numbering and bolding so that Google can SEE ME better.

*waves* Hi Google!

Last weekend I attended Bloggy Boot Camp Boston, put on by the SITS Girls. Here are the 5 things I loved about it:

1. Assigned seating- As a self proclaimed shy person. I say self proclaimed because no one believes me when I say it. Just know when I sit at your table or meet you for the first time, sometimes even the second, I am terrified. SO shy. It takes a lot of courage, and sometimes wine, for me to be comfortable. So the assigned seating I completely loved.  I would have hunkered down at one table and stayed there all day if I wasn’t forced to move. I got to meet new people and practice my elevator pitch and exchange more cards than I ever would have just hunkering down at one table way.

2. Networking – There seemed to be natural times for networking because of the assigned seating. Instead of a ready, set, network vibe. There was a sit and chat and network kind of vibe. Me likey. Strangely (or not at all really) the assigned networking time was the only one that didn’t work for me.

3. Content – Personal Branding, Crafting Content, the Pitch, Photos, the Business of Blogging, Social Media, Doing Good. Those were all the topics, on paper anyway. There was so much detail and information. By the end of the day my head was spinning. Great tips, advice, must dos, should dos, and also some please don’t dos :-)

4. People So many different women (a couple of men too). Different reasons for being there. Different types of blogs. The speakers were really amazing. They were prepped and on top of their game – they gave us their all. I could tell they wanted to be there and they really wanted to share. They were walking “The Secret to Success is Support” walk! And speaking of, those SITS ladies rocked. Seriously and truly. Tiffany and Fancesca were incredible and generous hostesses.





5. Who am I?  Passion & Promise – It was the first thing we talked about over coffee in the morning. It was touched on all day. Whether we were talking content, pitches, or business. It’s all about the passion. All about you (or me rather) What am I getting out of this?  What am I putting into it. Is it worth the time I spend away from my kids?  What is my role on the web?  Is it unique? Where does my passion lie? What am I promising my readers?

What stuck with me here is how important it is to define myself and in doing so, my blog. What also stuck with me (and I’m thinking about it right now!) is how I don’t have any of those answers yet. I’m working on it.

Thanks for a great day everyone! I’m off to read other wrap up posts now, and comment of course.


Thanks so much to Lindsey at the Mod Chick for letting us all swipe her pics!
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Hey Boo Boo!

My kids have never been to the movies.  I know, call DSS already.  What the hell kind of mother am I?  My oldest is 4.5 and he’s never been to the movies.

Let me explain.  I am of the mindset that I would rather watch a movie at home.  Weird, since up until a few weeks ago we still had a 25 inch tube television.  I know!  I couldn’t even QC my work videos properly on the damn thing.  Also I so infrequently get to see my friends that just about the last thing I want to do is sit in a dark theater and not talk to them while sitting next to them.  Date night you say?  Nope not spending money on a sitter to go spend more money on a movie.  Just feed me.  The real truth is that I have had three kids in five years and I simply have not found the time. Someone was always too young, too loud, to new, too messy, too throwing food, too potty training, Too SOMETHING.

I received an email from Boston Parent Bloggers that they had been given passes to screen the new Yogi Bear movie. All I had to do was sign up at and enter a rsvp code.  “Gofobo is a new and exciting online experience designed to help you see movies first and win prizes fast.”  I’m not sure what that means but you can check it out for yourself :-)  We would get to see it a week before everyone else.  A fact that only my husband and I thought was cool.

The movie, well I’m not a critic, but…

I am a child of the 70’s which means I grew up watching Yogi Bear.  There was far too little Yogi and Boo Boo for my taste.  The story was much more about the humans, heroes and villains, a love story, etc.  With larger plots about saving the environment and our parks.  I do love the actor from Ed.  So that was a cute bonus for me.  Not really sure why it needed to be in 3D, but I hadn’t been to a 3D movie in forevah so – kind of cool.  The glasses stayed off the 2.5 year old and the 4.5 year old kept asking me what they were for and why the screen was fuzzy. Like 20 times, kept asking me.

And then…He was there!  Yogi was in da house.  The kids were so excited to see him.

Our first movie experience was great.  Yeah it was a pic-a -nic! Everyone behaved, no one yelled, or threw food, or peed, or anything at all remotely like that.  We might even go back someday!

Maybe I’ll take them to a museum or something next.


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Who me? A Boston Parent Blogger?

Apparently, yes.  With a quick trip out to the phenomenal new Barefoot Books store in Concord, and a name tag -it’s official.  I am a parent blogger, a momblogger if you will.  Or not. Who knows? I have absolutely no time to post so maybe I’m not.  This event happened over a month ago and I haven’t said boo about it.  And it was great, it really was.

Jodi Grundig and Christy Matte, the co-founders of Boston Parent Bloggers, have done an awesome job collecting the parent bloggers of Boston (New England it seems like really) and gathering us all together virtually and in real life.

I talked to many and gathered some business cards, but really I was just trying not to make a fool of myself.  I’m not entirely comfortable in networking situations.  I’m very shy.  Large crowds do me in.  I’m much more comfortable in small groups, but even then, if I don’t know anyone I’m not so confident.

But for some reason I was drawn to these people and this event.  Some of the people that would be there: Christine of Boston Mamas and Charlene of Charlene Chronicles I have met in person.  And of course the lovely blogger at Isis Parenting, Cindy.  So going in I knew a few people, but most of the others I only “knew” online.  My twitter buds.  It was so nice to be able to faces and names together and also to meet some new people.  You know, just to up my follower count.

They gave away an awesome goody bag filled with some pretty cool stuff.  I also won a couple of things and being new I didn’t realize that it’s not in good form to win more than one thing in these raffles.  Who knew?  I never win anything so I was excited! First I won these Robeez Reindeer bootieswhich technically I didn’t win because they had four pairs to give away and only two of us dropped in a ticket for them. So did I “win”?  Maybe not.  The second was an giant basket of cookies from Dancing Deer.  And if you think I was going to say “No, no. I already won something. Please give those cookies to someone else.”  You, are crazy.  COOKIES people!

I’m excited at the prospect of belonging to this community and what that might mean for personal as well as professional relationships. I am so happy that I stepped outside my comfort zone and out from behind my computer to go to this event.  I am so appreciative that I was included.

***So it turns out that karma is a funny girl because those super cute booties don’t fit my super chubby, now 7 month old.  So I’m going to give them away to someone just in time for Christmas.  Giveaway ends Saturday 12/18 at midnight. Just comment below or @reply me on twitter to enter.  Oh my goodness, a giveaway – So I guess I am a blogger after all.

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Healthy Habits Kitchen

I’m going to reveal myself here and let you get a little glimpse into the way my brain works.  Every time I said Healthy Habits Kitchen in the last couple of weeks. I kept thinking Hell’s Kitchen of reality tv infamy. I’m going to Hell’s Kitchen!  Here’s what really happened.

Metro West Bloggers Extraordinaire

Charlene of Charlene Chronicles got a bunch of bloggers together for an evening at the Healthy Habits Kitchen in Wellesley.

In attendance:
Kami of The Fence
Cindy of Isis Parenting
Laura of Being Loopy
Sharon of Umommy

Healthy Habits Kitchen says meals are as easy as 1,2,3 when you purchase meals from them.
1. Review our menu then, select pickup or delivery of our healthy meal kits. Our kits contain everything you need to prepare a quick, nutritious meal, including protein, sauce and, depending on the recipe, chopped fruits and vegetables, spices and starch.
2. You cook the meal kit according to the simple cooking instructions in the box or bag.
3. In 10-30 minutes, serve a nutritious meal to your family

My experience was slightly different because as part of the event we were able to assemble one of the meals. I chose Raspberry Chipotle Pork Medallions (which is a part of their November Menu).  It was quite simply the easiest cooking experience I’ve ever had, excluding frozen pizza.

I donned an apron (note to self: tying apron in front like Kami and Sharon is much more flattering) washed my hands and went to my station.  All the ingredients were laid out with their specific measuring utensils in front of them.  The recipe even told me when to go to the fridge and get the meat.  Seriously it said go now.  I finished the assembly, my partner in cooking, Laura, packaged it up and we were done!  Done.

Then we sampled some food. My favorites by far were the seasonal cranberry flavored dishes, one chicken and one very delicious cranberry salsa. The food is all nutritionally balanced, fresh, and yummy.

In November and December the Kitchen is booking Private Meal Assembly Parties that I think would be a heck of a lot of fun.  The meal assembly is NOT work at all.  You get a 3 course meal with BYOB and a meal to take home.  They also have an AWESOME Thanksgiving Menu, that if my Mom and Dad didn’t still cook ALL holiday meals for me (Yay!), I would completely be on board with this.  And calling it my own of course.  So if you haven’t planned Turkey Day yet – give them a call.

The prices are a little high for my budget. But the two bloggers (who shall remain nameless) that are self proclaimed NON cooks, didn’t bat an eye and bought two meals each on the way out.  So there you go.  You can assemble the meals yourself or just pick them up at the kitchen or at local farmer’s markets for $1 more.  I think I could be tempted to buy some for stay at home date nights.  The Chipotle Pork was a cinch to make and hubs loved it.

So My Hell’s Kitchen premonition did not pan out, thankfully.  It was a really fun experience.  However Sue could do well to act like Chef Ramsay every once and a while.  Just for kicks. It would definitely spice up the kitchen assembly process.  Come to think of it, she did get a little bossy when it came time to clean up.  She ordered me out of the way and wouldn’t let me clean up.  She wouldn’t let me clean up.  Ladies did you hear me?  SHE WOULDN’T LET ME CLEAN UP!  I heart her.

Sue of Healthy Habits Kitchen

Healthy Habits Kitchen
36 WASHINGTON STREET, SUITE 2 (in office building)

In exchange for some yummy pork dinner I wrote this blog post – and there’s your disclosure :-)
Pic of bloggers & measuring cups by Charlene.
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